Zoella, Zoella, Zoella, What a whirlwind this girl is.
At 24 years old, this blogger/vlogger/internet fashion guru has taken the world by storm.
Even as a blogger myself it's hard for me to comprehend her fame. With more social media followers than some of today's biggest celebrities, and multiple appearances on chat shows, it was only a matter of time before the doom and gloom parasites of today's media latched onto her success, and turned it into something bitter.
In case you haven't read it, I'm referring to this article by Chloe Hamilton on the Independant's website. Written only a week ago, it's already sparked huuuuge debate on the topic, however I wanted to dedicate a bit of time to thinking through my response before I got involved, seeing as my instant reaction was one of pure rage (there would have been many an expletive).
As I have such an angered and passionate response to this article, I thought I'd break it down by responding individually to specific ridiculous notions Hamilton throws out there, in the form of a good ol' bullet point list, otherwise this would be one long, illegible rant.
- 'Her eyes are enormous. She looks like a startled bird; albeit a bird with the gorgeous, flowing locks of Rapunzel, the high-pitched giggle of Tinkerbell, and a name so irritatingly Disney-fied it makes my stomach churn: Zoella.'
Firstly, Hamilton, remember your article is all about 'role models'. I can't help but feel that these insults disguised as backhanded compliments contradict your entire premise about body image, considering your opening sentence is a dig at Zoella's looks. Not well disguised either may I say, as the venomous tone here stings as you read. Also, seeing as you're not aged between 10 and 14, you're not Zoella's target audience so of course she as a brand doesn't appeal to you. That's like moaning that the Disney store is too immature for you. Fine, if that's how you feel. Don't go in, don't buy the stuff, but there's no need to so bitterly announce your opinion to the entire world.
- 'Zoella is a beauty and fashion vlogger – the latest creation spat out by the YouTube machine [...]'
So I take it Hamilton's not a fan of Youtube. I find it so odd that of all the things 'spat out' by 'machines' that are apparently bad 'role models', Hamilton chooses as her journalistic prey a 24 year old girl who has built her brand from scratch to not only give young girls advice and support, but to be a mental health ambassador. For Hamilton to write this whilst X Factor, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and America's Next Top Model are to this day exposing young girls to a world of competition, objectification and popularity seems laughable to me.
- '[...] she’s trodden an easy-peasy path to fame and fortune.'
Please oh please tell me what this point is based on! Firstly,it's taken Zoella 8 years to get to this stage. As with most
bloggers, such as myself, you have to start from the bottom and get your name out there. Turning your measly old self into a nationally recognized brand isn't something that happens overnight, and speaking as someone who's only just got a toe on the ladder, it isn't easy either. Sure if you've only just tuned into the Zoella hype it seems that she's come from nowhere and is living a life of luxury, but don't for a second think she didn't dedicate hours upon hours to making those videos and writing those posts and getting herself out there. You know what is easy though Hamilton, sitting at a desk being paid to rip to shreds other people's successes and hard work.
- '[...] she told a reporter that if she could give her teenage followers one piece of advice, it would be to fret less about their appearance [...] as though unaware that she’s forged an entire career by prattling on to young girls about how to look good '
Steady on Hamilton. Will you look at the bigger picture for goodness sake! Look at the world we're living in. Young girls will ALWAYS be interested in make-up and hair and clothes. It's a part of growing up. Even in the days where there was no internet or TV, little girls would watch their mum's wearing sparkly dresses and lipstick and wish to imitate them. I would much rather young girl's watch videos of how to achieve a hair style or a smokey eye they've always wanted to do ANYWAY from someone like Zoella, who also promotes a healthy mind and attitude to life, than some of the so-called 'role models' out there e.g Beyonce . If with each of her video's there's one less girl watching Nicki Minaj on MTV and one more watching Zoella, then things are going in a good direction I feel. Call Beyonce a female role model / feminist as much as you like, but the moment she gets on that TV screen dressed in next to nothing knowing there are young girls watching her, admiring her, that whole notion goes out the window.
- 'It’s maddening that a girl who has made it her business to tell teenagers how to put make up on, or get their hair just right, now feels she’s in a position to admonish them for “fretting” about their appearance. '
Has this woman even watched Zoella's videos? Does she even understand what blogging even is? The whole premise of blogging / vlogging is sharing with the world YOUR thoughts, YOUR likes, YOUR interests, YOUR way of doing things. Not THE thoughts, THE likes, THE interests , THE way of doing things, as Hamilton makes out. That's why there are so many fashion and beauty bloggers, because each one has their own way of doing things, their own way of thinking. Being a blogger and reading blogs is a realm in which inspiration is shared on a huge scale, If I don't like the way Zoella does her top knot, I can go on Youtube, type in 'top knot tutorial' and find a way of doing it from another vlogger that suites me. Just like in Zoella's anxiety videos, she specifically says that she's not giving people advice or instructions, she's literally sharing her way of coping, in the hope it may help someone.
- '[...]if she feels so strongly about the pandemic of insecurity raging through the tweenage generation, doesn’t she vlog about going to school without make-up, or encourage kids to spend their pocket money on books or days out with friends, rather than on the latest liquid eyeliner to hit Boots’ shelves?'
If, from the moment Zoella decided to blog, she'd only written about not wearing make-up and spending pocket money on books, there's no way in hell she would have become this successful, not that she set out to be this successful in the first place. Like most, it was a hobby that developed. With that in mind, as a hobby, why the hell shouldn't she write about what she wants to write about. The fact that there were people out there interested in her hobby has worked in her favour. Massively. But she's not squandering the exposure she's been given. Instead she's using it to promote mental health awareness, which is actually a hell of a lot more than the twonks in Parliament have done about the subject. Without her content matter, there would be no fan base, and there would be no way of reaching such a large group of young girls with such a positive message. But then again Hamilton, you wouldn't have been able to produce this appalling article. Swings and roundabouts.
- 'She wants young girls to worry less, but she unwittingly exacerbates their body anxiety as they strive for her level of perfection, often falling short.'
Stop right there *Angry Holly Willoughby voice* If Zoella didn't exist, young girls would soon find someone else to admire / desire to look like .OK, Zoella's pretty, and thin and has nice hair and a decent life that she works for. But that's it. She doesn't have butt or breast implants, she's not starving herself on some ridiculous diet, she doesn't have a stylist running behind her everywhere she goes, or a 24hr personal trainer. Whether Hamilton likes to admit it, of all the women young girls look up to nowadays, Zoella's one of the most real. You can't discredit her just because she's pretty and skinny. Also Hamilton, you can get off your high horse, because it's your bloody industry that has instilled this need to have these unattainable looks in young girls. Newspapers are constantly belittling women for the way they look, and then the next minute parading them on front pages. Newspapers and magazines fuel the fire, so don't take it out on Zoella when the industry you work for has created something that 'infuriates' you.